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Wii 'Popularity Bubble' to Burst? 426

Posted by Zonk
from the it's-a-big-one dept.
A combination of industry and developer observations has prompted Tech.co.uk to wonder if the Wii's overwhelming popularity is due to end sometime soon. This is based on a report from Japanese business newspaper The Nikkei, which published an article recently entitled 'Software Houses Miscalculate Audience, Demand For Wii'. "The report goes on to discuss the likelihood that many Wiis are gathering dust in owners' cupboards, citing one software house president as saying, 'People bought it out of curiosity, and it's likely a lot of them haven't used it.' Given that September saw Wii sales fall sharply in Japan for the second consecutive month, it seems reasonable to speculate that the bubble inflated by the novelty factor is starting to deflate, but writing Nintendo off at any stage is a perilous course to steer." Is this just worrying, or is there validity to this?
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Wii 'Popularity Bubble' to Burst?

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  • The better question (Score:2, Informative)

    by pthor1231 (885423) on Friday October 12, 2007 @01:21PM (#20956697)
    is who gives a shit if this so called "Popularity bubble" bursts? Honestly, will anything be different? Will your wii not work anymore?
  • Wii Bubble (Score:2, Informative)

    by LightPhoenix7 (1070028) on Friday October 12, 2007 @01:26PM (#20956787)
    I definitely think there's cause for caution with regards to a Wii "bubble" bursting. However, I also think that we're only just now starting to see big games come out for the platform, and that will support the popularity more and more as time passes. The only big name game we've gotten is Zelda. Metroid just came out. The Big Three Mario games (platformer, racing, fighting) haven't hit the console yet, and won't until next year. That's going to step up the support for the platform. So until then, I think it's right to worry, but I think in the long term there's not much to worry about.
  • by milamber3 (173273) on Friday October 12, 2007 @01:27PM (#20956797)
    Suggesting that tons of people bought the Wii and have never even used it is a really awful assumption. While it's true some people will buy it and use it less often than other's that's not to say it will sit in a box collecting dust. I got the Wii on launch day and my girlfriend and I have gone through periods where we use the Wii and lot and then periods when we dont play for a while. It has more to do with our jobs then a lack of interest. Some of the games we most want to play have not even come out yet. Regardless, the Wii does not have some special characteristic that will make people lose interest and not buy games for it any more that they would for the PS3 or Xbox 360.
  • Re:No dust. (Score:3, Informative)

    by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Friday October 12, 2007 @01:35PM (#20956949) Homepage Journal
    My Wii would be gathering dust, if I hadn't already sold it. I don't say this as flamebait or anything, but I beat Twilight Princess and then saw nothing on the near horizon so I sold it to my brother-in-law on the cheap in December 2006. Smash Bros. Brawl is the sequel to my most played game of all time so I will definitely be picking up another Wii early next year, but I don't miss our time apart. The only game that's out now that I even would have considered buying was Metroid Prime 3. I'm not really Nintendo's target demographic anymore but I do enjoy their first-party games.
  • Re:Not surprising... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Volante3192 (953645) on Friday October 12, 2007 @01:38PM (#20957015)
    So they package "Wii Sports" in with the system (or "Wii Play", I can't remember which one Japan got)

    Japan didn't come with a bundled game.
  • Re:No dust. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Wordplay (54438) <geo@snarksoft.com> on Friday October 12, 2007 @01:50PM (#20957217)
    I have all of the major consoles, and of them, the Wii is the least-played, and the Xbox 360 is the most-played, with the PS3 in the middle. The PS3 only has a handful of good on-disc games, but as the other guy who replied mentioned, the downloadables save the system. Many of the downloadable games are very high quality.
  • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Friday October 12, 2007 @01:52PM (#20957253)
    For the past week the top five games for the wii included Carnival Games at #1 and DDR at #3. Resident Evil's been up there, Rayman's been up there, and you have to go back six weeks to find one in which there aren't two games in their top five that are from a company other than nintendo. Developers that put out games for the wii have, so far, been reaping some nice benefits from the data that I've seen.
  • Re:Poor timing (Score:3, Informative)

    by the dark hero (971268) <[adriatic_hero] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Friday October 12, 2007 @02:02PM (#20957429) Homepage

    This statement is very poorly timed and thus most likely completely inaccurate. 1. Christmas season starts soon. Christmas = high sales period. 2. Wii has 3 extremely popular games being released between now and february.
    Agreed! November is the shopping month and the new Mario comes out. Link's Crossbow training is also due out. December has a few good releases. Smash in February! Mario Kart in Spring! Mind you these are just the first party titles. We should be getting hit with the onslaught of games from developers that are just catching up(because no one expected wii to do so well) after a late start.
  • by JoshJ (1009085) on Friday October 12, 2007 @02:05PM (#20957487) Journal
    Metroid Prime 3 isn't really a FPS. It's more of a first-person Zelda game, with less well-defined "dungeons" (there's a lot of backtracking, needing items from THIS planet in order to do stuff on THAT planet, etc); it just happens to have a FPS viewpoint+combat system.
  • Re:Poor timing (Score:5, Informative)

    by metamatic (202216) on Friday October 12, 2007 @02:14PM (#20957637) Homepage Journal

    The rest of your argument would only apply if the Wii existed in a vacuum. It doesn't. It's being shut out of the software top ten, its hardware sales are only 10,000 per week ahead of the PS3 at this point...


    Lets look at some games sales stats for October [vgchartz.com]...
    DS 135,851
    Xbox 360 129,986
    Wii 95,800
    PSP 91,966
    PS3 29,718

    And as for hardware sales: "Also worth noting - PS2 outsold PS3 2:1 this week, 360 outsold PS3 4:1, and Wii outsold PS3 3:1 this week."

    Ah yes, surely victory for the PS3 is assured! The Wii is only outselling the PS3 3:1 in both hardware and games, Nintendo are doomed!
  • by CrabbMan (724775) on Friday October 12, 2007 @02:15PM (#20957645) Homepage
    This does not even matter, but Milwaukee is not the #11 metro area in the states. Not even top 25.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_metropolitan_area [wikipedia.org]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milwaukee,_Wisconsin [wikipedia.org]

    That is, according to wikipedia, so keep the NaCl handy. . .
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2007 @02:26PM (#20957819)
    last year I had an SDTV.

    I was in the "graphics don't matter" crowd because I honestly thought the difference between the wii and the PS3 were minimal on my set.

    I now have a 50" HDTV, and it pains me to fire up any device that is 480p on it.

    It's fuzzy.

    I'm not complaining about number of polys or texture resolution, it's just that anything I play on it looks like someone smeared vaseline on my eyes.

    I think spending an extra 2 bucks or so per console to get the native resolution up would have been a great investment, because I don't think it will have the same lasting power with 480p output being the best it can do.

    Add to it that only platform exclusives actually work well with the remote, and Nintendo could have some staying power issues. The fanboys will scream and shout that it's jsut not true, but they are probably all still using SD sets.

    Gameplay is great, and I loved my Wii the first few months, but it's been stagnant, and I've only played 2-3 games I truly enjoyed.
  • Re:Not surprising... (Score:5, Informative)

    by metroid composite (710698) on Friday October 12, 2007 @02:29PM (#20957857) Homepage Journal

    they're casual gamers, they're not out buying a new game every week.

    I'm a game developer, and before that an administrator for a gaming website. I don't buy a new game every week. Studies I've read suggest that this "once a week" demographic only accounts for 3% of all gamers.

    It's happening. Look at the Japanese software charts, not just the hardware charts. Not a single Wii game in the top ten last week, this on supposedly the most popular console in Japan.

    You're right, according to last week we should expect the 360 to win in Japan! ...Or we could look at this week [neogaf.com], where in the top 30 there's 5 Wii games, 1 PS3 game, and 0 360 games (despite the Wii hardware dropping AGAIN). Now, 5/30 is low, but 0/30 and 1/30 are DISASTERS.

    the competition's got big games in the pipeline too (not to mention a price drop).

    The Wii is also quite capable of dropping price. This is less of a big deal in Japan, mind you, and more of a big deal in North America where people continue to buy GBAs over DSs for being $30 cheaper.

    Not many hardcore gamers in any territory are going to want to own the system that their grandma and little sister thinks is cool. That probably sounds harsh, but that's the way 18-24 year old males think, and they make up the majority of hardcore gamers.

    My experience with siblings is the opposite--younger sisters tend to take interest in whatever the older brother is playing. People get into arguments like "I want to play the NES" "No *I* want to play the NES".

    As for the 18-24 male have-moved-out-of-the-house range, why would they care what their relatives are playing? If playing a game can get them into girl's pants, they'll do it, but otherwise they'll play whatever they like, or their dorm-mates like.

    Whether or not the Wii continues to outsell the PS3 and Xbox 360 (by whatever shrinking margin it can muster), the big problem for them is that games aren't selling, really at all.

    In North America the Wii games are selling better than PS3 games, and worse than 360 games. More 360s have been sold than Wiis in North America, and more Wiis have been sold than PS3s in North America. It's almost like install base is important after all!

    Now, yes, the 360 has a spectacular attach rate--the 360 probably having the most hardcore of the ownership bases, and having achievement points which seem to be an obsession for some people. For this reason, the Wii could pass the 360 in America and still not control the region. This doesn't mean that the clear #2 console will be ignored by developers, though (the original XBox wasn't ignored last-gen; only third place (GC) was).
  • Re:No dust. (Score:4, Informative)

    by radish (98371) on Friday October 12, 2007 @02:31PM (#20957891) Homepage
    I'll join the others introducing themselves to you :)

    I stood outside TRU in Times Square for 6 hours the morning of launch day to get my Wii, so no-one can say I wasn't excited to get this thing. Played it a bunch the first month or so, but since my wife finished SPM we've basically never switched it on (except to install an update every so often). I honestly can't remember the last Wii game I bought, Metroid is something I'm interested in playing but to be honest it's at the end of a very long list. I just don't have enough time to play all the games on other systems I'm into, and nothing on the Wii appeals enough to beat them in the queue. Mario Kart is a probable buy, likewise Galaxy - but this just feels like the GC all over again.

    Meanwhile I'm finishing Bioshock before starting Halo, finishing DiRT before starting Forza or PGR4 and at some point I'll make it back to R6 Vegas. Ratchet & Clank looks unmissable (first PS3 title to win that award in my book) and I still haven't really finished Crackdown. I will say that the PS3 isn't currently used much more than the Wii, but the 360 is miles ahead (at least for the games I enjoy).
  • by eln (21727) on Friday October 12, 2007 @03:03PM (#20958339) Homepage
    As the others said, Wii has great backward compatibility. We bought the Wii because it looked cool, but we have got the most bang for our buck by far by buying GameCube games for it. It's awesome to have a system where I can get the latest games every once in a while, but where I can keep myself (and my kids) interested in between those games with a huge selection of games that cost less than $20.

    Buying a Wii and then shelving it for an old GameCube is absurd. Just take the old GC controllers to use on the Wii and trash the rest of the system.
  • by Bob-taro (996889) on Friday October 12, 2007 @04:54PM (#20960051)

    ... The main point of the Prime series (and all Metroid series really) was to explore and find power-ups that allowed you to get farther into the "dungeons" ... one of the key features that sets Prime apart from other more traditional FPS titles is the need to use the various Visors and jump upgrades which effectively make the game play closer to a platformer such as Mario Sunshine. The fairly constant switch to third person when performing certain jumps and using the morph ball also serves to distance Prime from a FPS.

    So I guess to the purists Half Life 2 isn't a FPS because there are physics puzzles. And Doom wasn't a FPS because you needed to navigate "dungeons" and find and use keys. Halo isn't a FPS because of all the 3rd person cutscenes.

    Now, I'm being a bit of a hypocrite because I don't personally feel like it's a REAL fps unless you have a keyboard and mouse (I never got into consoles), but logically, if it's mostly first person and mostly shooting, I think you pretty much have to put it in the FPS category, even if it does overlap with other genres a bit.

  • by Stone316 (629009) on Friday October 12, 2007 @05:50PM (#20960687) Journal
    I have a Wii and I barely play it.. My kids play it every now and then but days (weeks?) go by without it being turned on. My son continues to play his gamecube more. Why don't I play it more? I can't stand playing against AI.. I want to play real people and 1 year later where are the network games?!? Are there any?? I think there are a couple like the Pokemon one and I heard Call of Duty or some such is coming out in a few months with game play up to 16 people. The Wii has alot of potential but if they keep focusing on party games and things like Wii Fit, then people are going to get tired of it.
  • by h4ck7h3p14n37 (926070) on Friday October 12, 2007 @08:59PM (#20962221) Homepage
    I think SCEA beat Nintendo to the punch, although their product [joystiq.com] was designed for females.
  • by macwhiz (134202) on Friday October 12, 2007 @09:26PM (#20962383)

    I had a Nintendo 64 when it came out, and I played with it occasionally. I got one of the last "thick" PS2s, and a small handful of games for it. Every 6 to 9 months, I'd see some game that seemed interesting, and play it for a week or two. Between times the PS2 gathered dust.

    I finally got my hands on a Wii last February. Since then, it's been used at least three times a week, sometimes daily. I played through Twilight Princess, then downloaded Ocarina and played farther through it than I ever had on the N64. The girlfriend and daughter enjoy the Everybody Votes Channel, and once the Wii is on to "check for questions" it usually winds up being used for some game or other. Games where the people watching can "help" are popular at my house: Twilight Princess, Super Paper Mario, GameCube titles like Wind Waker and Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door. I play a lot of Virtual Console games from my childhood. Lately, I've not used the Wii quite as much... because I'm playing Phantom Hourglass on the DS. (The girlfriend has complained that Nintendo needs to provide some way of mirroring the DS screen to the TV via the Wii, so that she can watch me play.) We occasionally play Mario Party 8 or Wii Sports together as a family.

    In short, the Wii has seen several orders of magnitude more play time than any other console I've owned since the Atari 2600.

    It'll get a lot more use when Nintendo releases some form of Tetris for it. The girlfriend will shove me aside to get her mitts on the Wiimote when that happens.

    I'm not a kid anymore, but I still like me some toys. The Wii is just plain fun. Nintendo understands how to make fun games, and that they don't have to be hi-def eye candy if they're actually enjoyable. The "shovelware" vendors don't get this. That's why they're scared -- their business model is based on pretty, not fun, and that business model doesn't work for Wii owners.

    I'm a professional UNIX administrator. I use Macs at home because they just work. By the time I get home, I don't want to muck with the computer anymore, I just want to do things. The Wii, especially with Nintendo games, is just fun. I'm not a Nintendo fanboy -- I hated Nintendo when I was young and an Atari fanboy -- I just think that this product meets an untapped need really well.

    In my opinion, the people pooh-poohing the Wii because of its graphics seem a lot like the folks who derided the Mac's "toy-like" graphic interface, or the iPod's "limited" interface compared to the Rio... such people completely miss the point that they aren't the mass market, and sometimes simpler is better. "The Wii is dying" is the "BSD is dying" for 2007, I guess.

  • Re:Poor timing (Score:3, Informative)

    by ElleyKitten (715519) <.kittensunrise. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday October 13, 2007 @12:28PM (#20966667) Journal

    I haven't seen many games for Wii that a casual gamer would die for..
    I think part of the definition of "casual gamer" is that they wouldn't die for a game...

    They all scream "rental" rather than buy.
    Casual gamers don't rent, they buy one game and play it for months. Many casual gamers are still playing Wii Sports. Between Sports, Play, Mario Party, Super Monkey Ball, Wario Ware, and VC games like Dr Mario, casual gamers have more than enough games for the limited times they play.

    Where's the DS/Wii interactive games?
    After all the complaints about the Gamecube/GBA games and how horrible it is to require a console and a handheld or 4, I'm shocked that they're even making more games like that.

    Where's games like Pikmin 3
    Try Elebits.

    or Katamari?
    Never on a Nintendo system before. Try Monkey Ball.

    Or DDR
    Released last month.

    or Guitar Hero?
    You've got less than a month to go. Getting a bit impatient?

    I've got one and only bothered to rent half a dozen games so far... that's not good.
    Maybe you need to look around more.

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